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Newfoundland Screech

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Newfoundland Screech is a particularly strong liquor, sold in Newfoundland and originally imported from Jamaica, which enjoys fame in many parts of Canada. In the United States, it is available for sale in the three most northeastern states - that is, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.

Left: Newfoundland Screech.

Screech is manufactured in a process very similar to that of most rums: fermentation, distillation, aging and blending of sugarcane.

According to legend, screech was first created in the days of the Triangle Trade, when the same barrels were used to carry both molasses and rum, and were only occasionally cleaned. The barrels built up a deposit of very strongly sweet sediment at the bottom, which was melted out with boiling water and either fermented or mixed with grain alcohol. The longer the screech sits, the cheaper and 'lower class' it becomes. This concoction eventually became known as screech.

The screech sold legally in liquor stores both in and outside of Newfoundland is blended and bottled by the Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation which, unlike its counterparts in other provinces, has retained its bottling business (apparently so it can carefully control the quality of a product so closely identified with the province). However, consumers should be aware that many Newfoundlanders do not view NLC-bottled screech as the genuine article, and stronger screech continues to be blended and distributed in an extralegal manner.


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